There are many details that go into the planning of a wedding, but one of the most exciting parts of the process is planning the menu. Choosing a theme, meeting with caterers, and sampling the array of offerings opens up a world of possibilities. With the variety of fresh, local ingredients at its peak in summer, there is an enormous diversity of possibilities to select from this time of year.
To Serve, or Not To Serve?
One big decision a bride has to make is whether guests will have their food served to them, or select it themselves. Sit-down service makes crowd management easier, while a buffet or food stations can offer more variety and allows guests to create their own ideal meal. While a buffet presents a set selection of dishes that usually complement each other to some degree and are located in one central area, food stations are spread out in different areas throughout the banquet hall. Each includes an assortment of related foods, and guests can stick with one favorite theme or sample from among the variety of options.
Buffets and food stations can sometimes be perceived as less classy than sit-down service, but this isn’t necessarily so. Both food stations and buffets can create an elegant experience, usually at a savings over full dinner service particularly for outdoor summer weddings. Food stations have the benefit of offering unique, made-to-order fare that guests can watch chefs prepare to their specifications. The possibilities are almost endless: artisan pizzas, sushi rolls, crepes, stir fry, and shrimp and grits would probably seem unusual if served in combination as part of a sit-down dinner, but food stations allow brides almost complete freedom to customize their offerings to current food trends and seasonal availability as well as to their own culinary preferences and those of their guests.
New Twists on the Traditional
For those who choose the slightly more formal option of dinner service, there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate the unique and unexpected into the meal. One way to do this is to serve a traditional favorite with a new twist. Instead of serving Brie with apple or pear, surprise guests by pairing it with persimmon or lychee. Try roasted branzino with caper butter in place of halibut or Chilean sea bass. In place of traditional red wine sauce or blue cheese, couple filet mignon with a black bean and roasted mango salsa. If you prefer a meatless menu, it doesn’t mean that you have to sacrifice class or flavor; polenta is a versatile classic that can be deliciously combined with ingredients such as goat cheese, caramelized onions, and honey or prepared vegan with sun dried tomatoes, zucchini, and almond pesto.
Wedding dinner traditions are now more fluid than ever, and every bride wants to present guests with a memorable experience. The bounty of fresh ingredients available this time of year opens up a world of culinary possibilities for your summer wedding.